Harris Tweed has been produced by weavers on the Isle of Harris, Lewis, Barra and Uist for many years. Initially used on the islanders crofts and sold to local markets, in wasn’t until Lady Dunmore, widow of the landowner of Harris chose to have their clan tartan replicated by Harris weavers in tweed, (1846) that the focus turned to Harris tweed. It was as a result of the success of this event, that Lady Dunmore spent time marketing the tweed to her wealthy friends and the success of the tweed took off across the country.
As a result of the booming success of the tweed, measured were taken in 1906 after a meeting in Stornaway to keep the Harris Tweed industry exclusive to the islands. The Harris Tweed Association Limited was formed to ensure the grant if the new trademark. It was from this that the certification Mark of the Harris Tweed orb and Maltese cross was granted. 1911 saw the beginning of the stamping.
Early 1990s saw some modernisation changes to the producing of a lighter, softer and wider tweed. The harris tweed authority took over in 1993 by act of parliament and thus the definition of Harris Tweed became statutory and forever tied to the cloth of the islands.
Harris tweed has stood the test of time, partly as a result of the quality,workmanship and values behind the label but also due to the hard work, belief and resilience of the island weavers who refused to let the island label die out.
Harris Tweed has become a wardrobe staple and a ‘must have’ item. It has been embraced by the world, from fashion design labels to royalty to Hollywood. This humble cloth really is a true, timeless classic textile.
Looking for some tweed inspired interior decor?
To add a touch of Harris Tweed to your home, why not check out my bespoke canvases and frames www.tangleweavedesigns.co.uk